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Jessie Bates reacts to Bengals cutting George Iloka, which effectively makes him a starter

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The Bengals’ rookie safety is in line to start in Week 1 following Iloka’s release.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

You know when you work really hard for something and then you actually (maybe surprisingly) get it?

That’s basically what happened today for Bengals rookie safety Jessie Bates who went from first-man-off-the-bench to starter when Cincinnati parted ways with long-time starting safety George Iloka.

Iloka had been helping to develop the second round pick out of Wake Forest up until his release on Sunday.

Iloka is such a good guy that after he was released, he still attended a children’s hospital visit with members of the team, something he didn’t need to do as he’s no longer a Bengals player. But that’s the kind of guy Iloka is.

Bates publicly shared a parting message to Iloka who he says taught him “so much in the short amount of time” they had together. Bates also said the team that signs Iloka is “getting a hell of a player and even better man.”

One team that may be interested in Iloka is the Cowboys, who the Bengals just beat in Arlington on Saturday.

Additionally, the Raiders and Chargers could make sense as landing points for the former Bengals safety. The Raiders make sense because of the Paul Guenther connection; Guenther is now the defensive coordinator in Oakland. The Chargers could make sense because they just lost a safety due to injury in this weekend’s preseason action.

It’s a tough day for Iloka, but a big one for Bates who is now among a very small group of Bengals defensive rookies during the Marvin Lewis era to start in Week 1. Times are changing, friends.

Will this be the right call for the Bengals?


Did the Bengals make the right move cutting George Iloka?

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